Buddy Guy's latest, Bring 'Em In features the blues great's renditions of well-worn hits by artists from Bob Dylan to Otis Redding. The album may be heavy on pop songs, but Guy says he put his bluesy signature on every one of them: "Blues is like American Express. I don't leave home without it." Jive. 2005.
The Chicago blues legend's recent divorce is weighing on his mind, if "Somebody's Been Sleeping in My Bed" and "Now You're Gone" are to be believed. That's bad for Buddy Guy, but good for his fans, who, on these contemplative, regretful numbers, get treated to some of Guy's most sweetly improvisational and melodic guitar since his '60s hallmark A Man and the Blues
. There's slash 'n' burn, too, as he gunfights with Carlos Santana
on "I Put a Spell on You" and squeezes pure heart from his strings teaming with John Mayer
on "I've Got Dreams to Remember." Guy also plays prettily and trades vocals with Tracy Chapman
on a rote but right "Ain't No Sunshine," although Robert Randolph
and Keith Richards
are slight on "Lay Lady Lay" and "The Price You Gotta Pay," respectively. Guy hasn't cut this many classics in a while, but he channels enough raw, emotional sensitivity to make the oldies sound like they're pumping fresh blood. --Ted Drozdowski